Tool Review
Z63 Riveting Tool
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Using pounce wheels to produce the effect of rivets on models is a well established technique, but the tools themselves haven't always been that easy to find. So, despite reading about other modellers' success, I've never managed to obtain a pounce wheel until now and have had to resort to embossing rivets individually using a notched guide - which is accurate, but absolutely mind-numbing on a large project! So I was delighted when SBS Model announced a new Riveting Tool produced in Hungary by Z63, which is available in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 scales.

For anyone unfamiliar with pounce wheel "riveting", the concept is simple enough. The wheel is like a sharp-toothed cog-wheel and running it along produces a line of lightly embossed dents, or "rivets". The finer the teeth, the closer the spacing - and hence the different scales in SBS's range.

The tool arrives in a zip-lok bag with a sheet of English instructions, a clear styrene straight-edge to use as a riveting guide and a sample 1/48 scale rivet pattern. A section of tough plastic tube protects the "business end" of the riveter for transit or storage.

The wheel itself is steel and set in a brass mounting. This is in turn fixed in a shaped wooden handle which is comfortable to hold like a pen and has flattened faces so the tool can't accidentally roll off the workbench and damage the wheel. The overall construction is very good, with a certain "hand-made" quality that makes it feel like a true craftsman's tool. The wheel is mounted very firmly, and Z63 seem to have the balance between sturdiness and delicacy just right.

In use
I've never tried a pounce wheel before, but I found SBS's Riveter easy and instinctive to control. The toothed wheel follows the guide precisely, with no tendency to skid or run away. Ideally, you should measure and mark your intended rows of rivets with a pencil before committing yourself - something I didn't do for the hasty demonstration photo here - but I was surprised how quick and precise the technique is. The spacing of the rivets produced by the 1/48 scale tool is about 40 / inch or 16 / cm and running rows tightly beside panel lines, around curves and building-up multiple rows where there's strengthening on spars etc. soon becomes second nature as your confidence grows.

SBS Model's Z63 Riveter is a very useful quality tool that will last a for a lifetime of modelling if looked after properly. At last I feel I can tackle all those darned rivets that Classic Airframes' Boulton Paul Defiant is crying out for - and keep my sanity!

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Verdict: SBS Model's Riveter is well made and should prove a very useful addition to any modelling toolkit.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Suggested Retail: 10 Euros
  PUBLISHED: Oct 18, 2008

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Hi Rowan - I went to the sbs website and checked this out and I also checked out pounce wheels. A pounce wheel is made by Excel that has 15 teeth/inch and sells for $5.79 plus shipping. I estimated, to buy two (1/48 & 1/72)of the SBS rivet tools and ship them to the States would be 26 Euros or a little over $ 33.00. How do you think the 15 tooth pounce wheel would do on 1/48 and 1/72? Regards, Steve
OCT 29, 2008 - 06:24 AM
Hi Steve SBS's 1/48 scale riveter is a lot finer than the Excel one you mention - measuring a sample row of rivets, it's got 40 teeth/inch. 15 teeth/inch seems very coarse - by way of comparison, the rivets on Trumpeter's 1/48 scale Wyvern and Panther average about 32 per inch. The spacing of full-sized rivets varies depending on the stress/load applied in any particular area, but often the embossed rivets on kits are clearly nothing like close enough together. I'll try to remember to measure a few sections of rivets next time I'm working on the exhibits at Hendon to get some sort of average values. All the best Rowan
OCT 29, 2008 - 08:43 AM
Rowan - No need to go to the trouble unless you want to know yourself. You answered my question. I should have asked what the pitch of the SBS was to begin with. Guess I'll have to spring for them. Thanks my friend, Steve
OCT 29, 2008 - 06:31 PM

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